Our 5 Favorite African American Study Abroad Scholarships

by Published

Read this piece and other tales from black travelers in our free downloadable eBook, “Meaningful Traveler Tips & Tales: African American Perspectives” 

Going overseas to an entirely new environment can be a daunting task no matter what type of cultural background a student is coming from, but even more so as an African-American student, which as an underrepresented group can be a nerve wrecking experience at first thought.

I remember when I first thought about studying abroad back in my junior year of college. I had always wanted to study abroad in Europe, but after discussing the finances required with my college advisor at the time, I thought it would be impossible, especially because I knew I would need study abroad scholarships for black students. I couldn’t believe how expensive some of these programs were. However, I was fortunate enough to find the correct resources and study abroad scholarships for African American students to fund my experience. I’m here to pass along this info to future African-American and minority students.

Although there are a ton of study abroad programs and scholarships out there for study abroad, there aren’t necessarily a ton specifically offering study abroad scholarships for African American students. But they are out there, and we love ‘em. The scholarship programs listed below all have the common goal of promoting diversity amongst study abroad participants, so if you want to study abroad with the best, consider one of these: 

1. Fund for Education Abroad

silhouette of a black woman
There’s so much of the world to see!

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA Scholarships) was established in 2010 to help independent study abroad programs. Since then, they have sent roughly 100 students abroad from all over the United States. Applicants should be participating in an academically rigorous and immersive study abroad program that ideally includes a language component. FEA offers Dedicated Scholarships to applicants that meet general eligibility requirements and fit specific demographic, regional, or semester criteria.  

Award Amount: Up to $10,000 per year ($5,000 per semester)

Deadline: Cycle of applications accepted annually in the fall, check their website for the most up-to-date info. 

 Eligibility Requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the U.S. (graduate students are not eligible)
  • Study abroad program must be eligible for credit at the student’s educational institution
  • Study abroad program must be at least four weeks long (30 days)

2. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program 

thai girl eating noodles
Not all of the skills you develop will be resume ready, but that doesn’t make them any less important! Take chopsticks, for instance.

This scholarship is not only geared toward African-American students, but all students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. While most students from the U.S. end up choosing countries in Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand for their study abroad destination, this scholarship encourages students to choose more challenging locations. The Gilman scholarship program supports students who traditionally have been underrepresented in study abroad, including, but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: Depends on when student chooses to go abroad

Eligibility Requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Good academic standing as undergraduate student (both four-year and two-year institutions are acceptable)
  • Must receive a Federal Pell Grant during the term abroad
  • Must be in the process of applying to, or accepted for, a study abroad or internship program of at least two weeks for community college students and four weeks for students from four-year institutions, in a single country and eligible for credit from the student's home institution

3. API Diversity Scholarship

Group of black friends
You’re bound to see beautiful places, but the friendships you make are bound to be your fave part.

API’s diversity scholarship seeks to support participants from a variety of backgrounds. It provides the opportunity for students with traditionally marginalized identities to study abroad. API awards up to $500,000 to students annually ranging from $250-1,000 per student. Students are encouraged to apply for multiple API scholarships in addition to outside scholarships, however, in order to maximize the number of students receiving financial aid, API’s total contribution cannot exceed $1,000 per student (so read this list thoroughly and get going on all those applications). 

Award Amount: $250 to $750 

Deadline: Depends on when student chooses to go abroad

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minority students, U.S. military veterans, non-traditional students (30 years old or older), students with a disability, and/or LGBTQ students
  • Participant in an API program 

4. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholarships

scene from london
Where will you spend your scholarship funds?

This scholarship was created with the intent of sending students from a HBCU abroad with IES Abroad programs. Students awarded this scholarship will need to take stock of their time abroad in order to complete additional return requirements. At the end of your program abroad with IES Abroad, students submit a one-page reflection paper about how how it affected you personally, professionally, and academically and how this scholarship supported your endeavors. 

Award Amount: $2,000 including $1,500 toward the program and $500 toward airline ticket

Deadline: November, annually 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Open to students who attend an HBCU that is a Member or Associate member of the IES Abroad Consortium and that transfers at least 75 percent of home school aid to IES Abroad. 

5. David Porter Need-Based Diversity Scholarship

silhouette of a black man
Those views, ‘doe!

The David Porter Need-Based Diversity Scholarship was created for African American study abroad scholarships (and others with financial needs). This scholarship, also affiliated with IES Abroad, was named in honor of David Porter from the IES Abroad Board of Directors. It seeks to provide opportunity to groups traditionally underrepresented in study abroad and international education. 

Award Amount: $5,000 off the IES Abroad program fee

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Recipients must attend a private college or university that is a Member or Associate Member of the IES Abroad Consortium. In addition, your home school must have a policy of transferring at least 75 percent of institutional aid for study abroad.

Once you’ve narrowed your list down, I’d recommend looking over a few guidelines to make sure you’re submitting an application they simply can’t refuse. 

We <3 You, African American Study Abroad Scholarships

There’s no greater experience than studying and traveling abroad. I encourage you to apply for the scholarships listed above and to do thorough research; really put your all into each application. It’s a beautiful world out there that you can learn a whole lot from. 

Read this piece and other tales from black travelers in our free downloadable eBook, “Meaningful Traveler Tips & Tales: African American Perspectives